VERMILLION, S.D. (KELO) — Most college classes don’t start until next month, but international students are already feeling uncertainty about whether they’ll be able to go. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE, has released new rules for international students ahead of this fall semester, which could force some to leave the country.
On Monday, the Trump administration unveiled new fall semester rules for foreign students, including a requirement that they take in-person classes to remain in the U.S. Under the new guidelines, students with F-1 or M-1 visas will not be allowed to participate in an entirely online fall semester.
Hundreds of students at the University of South Dakota are not from the United States.
However, USD’s provost says, when they’re here, they’re home.
“They just make campus a richer, better place,” Kurt Hackemer, provost and vice president for academic affairs, said. “Having it sprung on us all of a sudden, certainly didn’t help their fears.”
Right now, Hackemer says USD is taking every COVID-19 safety precaution in order to open the campus for fall semester and have in-person classes.
“We will be working through the schedules of every international student at USD, making sure that their schedule is compliant with ICE requirements. We will find a way to make sure they stay compliant,” Hackemer said.
South Dakota’s COVID-19 cases appear to be steady. However, with cases surging in other states, educational institutions can’t rule out having to go back to online courses.
Brady: Are there any loopholes that would allow students to stay and study at USD, or how do you get past that?
Hackemer: Well, if we have to go to the point where campuses are closed, for example, then there’s not really anything we can do.
Hackemer says, thus far, in-person classes are on schedule. Though that would keep international students here, Hackemer worries how the ICE guidelines will affect them in the future.
“I think any time you have an environment where there are sudden and unforeseen rule changes, that makes any international student that much more wary about coming to the United States,” Hackemer said.
According to ICE, If international students leave the U.S., the students will be able to continue the remote instruction in their home countries. Hackemer says USD has been in contact with international students. If there are any with questions, they should contact USD’s international office.